Back in 2016 I had taken the plunge to leave my job to run Teams Unpuzzled (then Charaderie) full time and decided I would run a free event to showcase my Evidence Room activity. In my naivety, I thought I may attract loads of potential clients, get my name out there, and generally just kick things off. I didn’t then understand the benefits of networking; I was perfectly capable of doing everything myself…
In the end, 6 people attended; 4 of them I already knew, and I think came along out of pity (which I am eternally grateful for!) but two people actually found my event advert, thought it would be of interest, and took the time to attend.
It wasn’t the amazing success I had imagined; the internet was buffering, and I hadn’t got a back-up plan (on my solely internet-based activity). I couldn’t showcase the activity at its best in terms of team building when there were only 6 of us, but everyone was lovely, and we had a good morning. However, I felt deflated at the end; what was the point of it all? Had I just wasted some precious cash on hiring the venue for nothing? Would this ever work, or should I just give up?
Well, I didn’t give up, and looking back now I realise that it taught me the great virtue of patience (I am NOT a patient person!) and the benefits of networking, if not the regimented once-a-week kind which I have always avoided. I’m not a great networker but on that day, I met two new people and started a chain of events ending in my most lucrative month yet.
One of them, Judy Claughton, continued to keep in touch and organised some more networking events which I also attended; in the process I kept in touch with Karen Blyth, my other ‘new’ attendee. Since then, Karen and I have run a webinar together during lockdown, and Judy and I have worked on a number of collaborations including film making, corporate taster sessions and a series of Wellbeing at Work networking and fundraising mornings in conjunction with Ikea Reading.
At one of these events, I met Peter Mols; we had a coffee and he told me about his networking events; I booked onto one, but it coincided with the beginning of lockdown so, I attended a virtual one instead. At this event I met Dr Charlotte Booth; she’s since improved the copy on my website no end and is now mentoring me in my goal of writing my first book (and she’s amazing at it!)
I met Hazel Eastlake at one of Judy’s events; she is now running my Google Ad campaign which had a huge impact on my virtual Christmas bookings. Back when Peter and I had our coffee, he decided he should introduce me to Daniel O’Sullivan from Team Building Experiences; a year on and I’d become a supplier for them bringing an unprecedented amount of virtual Christmas bookings my way.
I have so many other similar stories from the past 5 years; how I met some of my amazing actors through contacts made at events such as these for example, but that’s another story. This one just goes to show how a single event can have a cascade effect; if you are just starting out please don’t feel deflated if things don’t go as planned; you just never know who you might meet!